Voters flocked to the polls Saturday to sweep out three incumbents in the Woodlands Road Utility District, electing three political neophytes to the five-member board of directors.
Timeout: Can a mere dozen people flock?
The vote was 10-2 in a district that has 24 registered voters. And several of those casting ballots spent exactly two nights in the district at a Residence Inn, listing the hotel as their primary home. The contest for the positions, which pay $25 per monthly meeting, was cranked up in the week preceding the election, as a group of activists rallied around a caveat in the state election code that appears to allow the voter to determine his or her domicile.
But due to a complaint to the Montgomery County district attorney’s office, the legal propriety of their registrations will be turned over to the state Attorney General’s office later this week, according to assistant DA Phil Grant.
And expect further protest, Grant said. “I assume there will be a parallel civil action of some sort to contest the validity of this election.”
Peter Goeddertz, Bill Berntsen and Richard McDuffee are the unofficial victors in the first election in the district since 2000, when four voters cast ballots.
Two incumbents Ed Miller and Winton R. Davenport Jr. did not return calls, and a third, Bill Neill, could not be reached.
Mike Page, a Houston lawyer and legal counsel for the district, also did not return calls, although in an interview last week, he doubted that the newly registered voters were valid.
“They don’t reside in the district,” Page said. “Just because they say they do doesn’t make it right.”
Grant declined to name the person making the April complaint about the newly registered voters.
The next board meeting for the utility district, which was created in 1991, is scheduled for May 17.
Goeddertz, who ran unsuccessfully for a Republican Party precinct chair spot several years ago, is expecting some kind of legal fireworks in the coming days, such as those suggested by Grant in the DA's office.
"I think something is going to happen, but I just don't know what," he said.
(Editor's Note: This post was updated at 3:29 p.m. CST Monday, May 10, with the correct spelling of Bill Berntsen's name.)
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.